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Use of Electrochemical Oxidation and Model Peptides To Study Nucleophilic Biological Targets of Reactive Metabolites: The Case of Rimonabant

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journal contribution
posted on 20.10.2014, 00:00 by Annika Thorsell, Emre M. Isin, Ulrik Jurva
Electrochemical oxidation of drug molecules is a useful tool to generate several different types of metabolites. In the present study we developed a model system involving electrochemical oxidation followed by characterization of the oxidation products and their propensity to modify peptides. The CB1 antagonist rimonabant was chosen as the model drug. Rimonabant has previously been shown to give high covalent binding to proteins in human liver microsomes and hepatocytes and the iminium ion and/or the corresponding aminoaldehyde formed via P450 mediated α-carbon oxidation of rimonabant was proposed to be a likely contributor. This proposal was based on the observation that levels of covalent binding were significantly reduced when iminium species were trapped as cyanide adducts but also following addition of methoxylamine expected to trap aldehydes. Incubation of electrochemically oxidized rimonabant with peptides resulted in peptide adducts to the N-terminal amine with a mass increment of 64 Da. The adducts were shown to contain an addition of C5H4 originating from the aminopiperidine moiety of rimonabant. Formation of the peptide adducts required further oxidation of the iminium ion to short-lived intermediates, such as dihydropyridinium species. In addition, the metabolites and peptide adducts generated in human liver microsomes were compared with those generated by electrochemistry. Interestingly, the same peptide modification was found when rimonabant was coincubated with one of the model peptides in microsomes. This clearly indicated that reactive metabolite(s) of rimonabant identical to electrochemically generated species are also present in the microsomal incubations. In summary, electrochemical oxidation combined with peptide trapping of reactive metabolites identified a previously unobserved bioactivation pathway of rimonabant that was not captured by traditional trapping agents and that may contribute to the in vitro covalent binding.